Tuesday, June 6, 2017
14:00 - 15:45

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14:00 - 14:15: / 301A BALANCING THE NEED FOR IMPROVING ECOLOGICAL ASSESSMENTS AND CONSISTENCY AMONG THEM: AN EXAMPLE FROM THE PROBLEM IN THE PLAINS

6/06/2017  |   14:00 - 14:15   |  301A

BALANCING THE NEED FOR IMPROVING ECOLOGICAL ASSESSMENTS AND CONSISTENCY AMONG THEM: AN EXAMPLE FROM THE PROBLEM IN THE PLAINS Maintaining consistency in ecological assessments is challenging because so many new methods are being developed to improve assessments and new assessment goals are emerging. We use problems in the plains ecoregions to evaluate challenges with consistency and improving assessments. We used structured equation modeling and data from the USEPA National Streams and Rivers Assessment (NRSA) to test the hypotheses that human disturbance as well as naturally varying factors in watersheds affected in-stream abiotic conditions, and both of these either directly or indirectly affected biological condition as measured by diatom metrics developed and tested for the NRSA. We found great differences among the nine ecoregions tested, with problems relating human disturbance and diatom metrics in plains ecoregions. Gradient forest statistics showed diatom species composition does respond to human disturbance in plains ecoregions. New diatom metrics increased the sensitivity of biological assessments to human disturbance. Despite need for new metrics and new metric modeling approaches, consistency in assessments can be maintained by expanding our framework for assessment and continuing to gather the same data, so old and new data can be reanalyzed with both the old and new methods.

Jan Stevenson (Primary Presenter/Author), Michigan State University, rjstev@cns.msu.edu;


Tao Tang ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, tangtao@ihb.ac.cn;


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14:15 - 14:30: / 301A DEVELOPMENT OF PROTECTIVE BIOLOGICAL THRESHOLDS FOR DIFFERENT STREAM TYPES IN A DIVERSE LANDSCAPE

6/06/2017  |   14:15 - 14:30   |  301A

DEVELOPMENT OF PROTECTIVE BIOLOGICAL THRESHOLDS FOR DIFFERENT STREAM TYPES IN A DIVERSE LANDSCAPE The state of Minnesota recently updated its biological assessment tools (i.e., Indices of Biotic Integrity and Biological Criteria) for streams and rivers on a statewide level. Minnesota includes a range of stream types from northern forest, cold water streams to prairie rivers. This natural diversity coupled with different stressor gradients between stream types posed challenges for developing protective and consistent biological thresholds that comply with state and federal regulations for determining attainment of beneficial uses. An important tool for establishing consistency across the state was the Biological Condition Gradient (BCG). BCG models were developed for each stream type and used to interpret changes in biological condition regardless of region or stream type. This analysis was especially important for ensuring that biological criteria are protective in regions where widespread disturbance is present (e.g., prairie region). The BCG models were also integral to the development of Minnesota's tiered goals as part of tiered aquatic life uses (TALU) framework.

R. William Bouchard, Jr. (Primary Presenter/Author), Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Will.Bouchard@state.mn.us;


Susan Jackson ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Jackson.Susank@epa.gov;


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14:30 - 14:45: / 301A TEACHING AN OLD DOG A NEW TRICK: TOOLS FOR USING BIOLOGICAL DATA IN NEW WAYS

6/06/2017  |   14:30 - 14:45   |  301A

TEACHING AN OLD DOG A NEW TRICK: TOOLS FOR USING BIOLOGICAL DATA IN NEW WAYS A primary goal of the Clean Water Act is to preserve and protect the biological integrity of the Nation's waters. The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) has built a comprehensive dataset using methods developed in 1989. Three factors have greatly increased the ability of ADEM to use its biological data in new ways while maintaining consistency over time: 1) the flexibility of the 1989 methods; 2) development of a Watershed Condition Gradient (WCG) to classify each watershed by its condition; and 3) calibration of the ADEM biological datasets to the Biological Condition Gradient (BCG) framework to characterize biological response to anthropogenic stress. The BCG and WCG provide tools for prioritizing specific watersheds for protection and restoration, as well as a method for setting achievable restoration goals. While Alabama's multi-metric indices are calibrated to least-impaired reference conditions, the BCG provides a framework for understanding current conditions relative to natural, undisturbed conditions. Applied on larger scales, the BCG and WCG could facilitate the use of data collected using different methods for a single purpose.

Elizabeth Huff (Primary Presenter/Author), Alabama Department of Environmental Management, esh@adem.alabama.gov;


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14:45 - 15:00: / 301A THE PERILS OF STATISTICAL HYPOTHESIS TESTING IN FRESHWATER ECOLOGICAL STUDIES: THE RAVEN’S PARADOX AND HIDDEN MULTIPLE COMPARISONS TRAPS

6/06/2017  |   14:45 - 15:00   |  301A

The perils of statistical hypothesis testing in freshwater ecological studies: the Raven’s paradox and hidden multiple comparisons traps Statistical hypothesis testing is a long-debated topic among freshwater scientists who often cannot easily conduct randomized experiments. Issues related to the use of an arbitrary significance level (0.05) and problems associated with low statistical power are often discussed. However, two common errors, the Raven’s paradox and the hidden multiple comparisons trap, have received little discussion. The Raven’s paradox involves supporting a hypothesis with evidence that is often irrelevant to the hypothesis being tested. The hidden multiple comparisons trap is a common issue in tests using computer-intensive methods that hide the underlying multiple comparisons and result in a high false positive (type I) error. These two errors often occur at the same time and lead to misleading results. We illustrate the two errors and how to expose and avoid them using two studies that estimate nutrient thresholds in aquatic systems using macroinvertebrate abundance and composition data.

Song Qian (Primary Presenter/Author), The University of Toledo, song.qian@utoledo.edu;


Thomas Cuffney ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), U.S. Geological Survey, South Atlantic Water Science Center, 3916 Sunset Ridge Rd., Raleigh, NC 27607, tcuffney@usgs.gov;


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15:00 - 15:15: / 301A MONITORING CHLOROPHYLL-A IN LAKES ACROSS THE UNITED STATES USING SATELLITE REMOTE

6/06/2017  |   15:00 - 15:15   |  301A

Monitoring Chlorophyll-a in Lakes Across the United States Using Satellite Remote Synoptic assessment of water quality grows more important as eutrophication of aquatic systems increases. Chlorophyll-a serves as a proxy for phytoplankton biomass, an indicator of anthropogenic nutrient stress, and a measure of nuisance algal blooms. However, resource limitations often compromise the completeness and consistency of conventional in situ chlorophyll-a sampling. Given the continuous and ongoing record of satellite imagery across several decades, remote sensing can expand frequency while ensuring consistency throughout time and space. The purpose of this study is to apply the derivation of chlorophyll-a from the Operational Land Imaging (OLI) sensor on the Landsat 8 satellite across U.S. lakes. We identified spatiotemporal matches occurring within a 3-day window between satellite overpass and in situ chlorophyll-a samples from the Water Quality Portal (WQP). WQP serves data collected by over 400 state, federal, local, and tribal groups across the U.S. There were 81,496 in situ samples between 2013 and January 2017, with 7,910 OLI matchups. Comparison of in situ and satellite measurements are presented and evaluated. The intended outcome of this work is to improve eutrophication assessments across the U.S.

Wilson Salls (Primary Presenter/Author), ORISE Fellow, U.S. EPA, salls.wilson@epa.gov;


Blake Schaeffer ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), U.S. EPA, schaeffer.blake@epa.gov;


Darryl Keith ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), U.S. EPA, keith.darryl@epa.gov;


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15:15 - 15:30: / 301A ELIMINATING ANALYST BIAS IN DIATOM ASSESSMENT

6/06/2017  |   15:15 - 15:30   |  301A

ELIMINATING ANALYST BIAS IN DIATOM ASSESSMENT To determine the biotic condition of freshwaters, many agencies rely on diatom species and their associated ecological attributes. Taxonomic consistency, however, is lacking to the point that “analyst bias” is a barrier to completion of project goals. To solve this problem, we present a protocol to eliminate analyst bias in diatom analysis. Elements of the protocol are 1) development of an a priori diatom voucher flora for each project, 2) light micrograph characterization of each taxon by morphologic and size range, with each taxon assigned an OTU code, 3) random assignment of samples to analysts, preventing the confounding of geographic distribution with identification, 4) evaluation of differences within samples (natural variation on slides) and between analysts (taxonomic consistency) by a rigorous QA/QC process, 5) utilization of QA/QC as a basis for evaluation of site differences, and 6) finally, at the last stage, assignment of formal names to OTUs using the Diatoms of the United States flora and other references cited within the USGS BioData system. The protocol leads to transparent and verifiable taxonomic consistency across analysts and saves money compared to current practices.

Sarah Spaulding (Primary Presenter/Author), US Geological Survey, sspaulding@usgs.gov;


Ian Bishop ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Colorado, ian.w.bishop@colorado.edu;


Meredith Tyree ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Colorado, meredith.tyree@colorado.edu;


Sylvia Lee ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), U.S. EPA, leesylvia@epa.gov;


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